Party Wall Matters

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act) provides a framework for preventing or resolving disputes in relation to work to party walls and boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings or structures.

Typical work which is covered by the Act includes cutting into a party wall to create a bearing for a beam, for creating a loft extension, or cutting away a chimney breast. Less obvious qualifying work are excavations for extensions within 3.0m (10’0) of a neighbouring building or piling within 6.0m.

The Act refers to two parties - Building Owners and Adjoining Owners

The building owner is someone proposing to carry out work of the type described in the Act and must give their neighbour written notice of their intentions to carry out work and describe the work.

I can advise you on the service of the notice, or I can serve the notice on your behalf.

The neighbour who receives the notice is the adjoining owner and must reply in writing to the notices. The neighbour can agree to the work going ahead or disagree.

If the adjoining owner agrees or consents in writing no further action need be taken although it would be prudent to take a photographic record of the neighbour’s property before starting work.

If the adjoining owner dissents with your proposals an Award must be prepared by an appointed surveyor or surveyors.

I can act as party wall surveyor in the preparation of an Award to enable your works to proceed.

If as an adjoining owner you receive a notice from your neighbour of intended work which affects your property I can advise on the response necessary or respond on your behalf.

I can act as your party wall surveyor, scrutinise the proposals and ensure that suitable precautions are taken to prevent your property being damaged. After the work is completed I inspect your property again to check that it is unaffected or, if damage has been caused, determine the necessary remedial work.

The Act allows for one surveyor as an agreed surveyor as the role of the surveyor is impartial and does not advocate for one side or the other. I am also able to act as an agreed surveyor where both parties concur in my appointment.

The Department of Communities and Local Government publish a useful guide to the Act which can be obtained at Party Wall explanatory booklet

RICS and party walls

The RICS provides guidance relating to party walls.

Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors

The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors FPWS offers advice on party wall matters and provides a list of members.

Please make sure the surveyor you appoint is qualified and a member of one of the recognised professional bodies and not someone who merely writes and requests an appointment having first trawled through planning applications to find potential appointments.

Party Wall Disputes TV Surveyors
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